Could Pre-Marriage Counselling have saved Ronan Keating’s marriage

I have a confession I have always loved Ronan Keating’s singing.  I look the lyrics, his passion and the tenderness he portrays.  Like other’s I was saddened to hear that his marriage of 14 years had ended.  These musings were prompted again by a fascinating article about pre-marriage counselling in the Irish Times by columnist and counsellor Padraig O’Morein.

He covers the basics of pre-marriage counselling and the broad range of issues it can address; children, step kids, sex money, values, religion etc. What I found fascinating was that seemed to present it as some new-fangled concept from the States (California no doubt). What I thought was ironic is that the Catholic Church has had what is actually a pretty good pre-marriage programme available for decades – in fact it used to be compulsory if you wanted to get married in a Catholic Church.

Perhaps what he is correctly noting is that the non-churched community is starting to take serious notice of the need to prepare for marriage. I totally agree with this – in my practice in New Zealand it is such a pleasure and privilege to work with pre-marriage couples. They glow with energy and it is so easy to teach them some basic communication skills so that when they hit the tough times (which we know they will) they have a toolkit to help them handle it.

The men especially love it because they get told all the things they are doing right (most of which they are doing unconsciously). It’s also really helpful for the women to highlight for them just how important their appreciation and respect is in building and maintaining a great connection.

Finally a great experience means when they hit the predictable rough patches: kids, money, jobs in-laws etc they have a safe person they both know and trust that they can go back to.

The analogy I use is that it’s like building a house you don’t need an architect or builder to successfully build a livable house. However their advice will make it smoother, faster, easier and ultimately more successful.


It makes me wonder if Ronan had been prepared for what the promise might cost might he have made some different choices?

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